2020-06-06 - What ... Is Your Favourite Colour?


Transported to a forest in Westchester, heroes are tested and awarded … boons.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sat Jun 6 01:31:47 2020
Location: Westchester

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Theme Song



All Spider-Man and Spider-Woman know is that they were investigating a disturbance while on patrol. All Dylan knows is that he and Hengroen had detected an anomaly and had arrived at the scene (a different one to the spider people) to investigate. That was twenty minutes - just before a blinding flash of light had occurred and they'd found themselves transported to … a wooded area.

According to their digital assistants, they're somewhere in the Rockefeller State Park Reserve, not too far from the Sleepy Hollow Road. Above them, the full moon shines brightly and they can all hear giggles and laughter echo from the trees around them.

They're not along either - Zatanna is there, dressed in leather pants and jacket and heavy biker boots - looking a little bewildered. "Well, this is different. I take it you were all doing something else as well?" She asks the group.

Hengroen snorts some flames and stomps his feet, not liking being teleported by unknown others. Dylan pats his shoulder as he looks around, head tilted slightly to one side as he hears the giggles. "Had you asked first, I could have brought some pizza." he tells their unseen watchers before nodding to Zatanna. "Aye. And then brought here by pixies, I'm thinking." Pulling out his phone, he taps it a couple times then enlarges a map, pinpointing his location and the sources of magic/supernatural around him.

It's not easy to live with the knowledge, or at least the suspicion, that somebody wants to hunt you down.

On the other hand, Spider-Man learned to deal with that *long* ago, and in the meantime? Somebody's got to keep the neighborhood friendly and low-crime, if not entirely crime-free. He and Spider-Woman had just put the finishing touches on a half-dozen criminals, their overly-augmented pickup truck, and the torn-from-its-wall ATM that the crooks had been trying to make off with when the light engulfed them.

Spidey lowers the hand that he'd reflexively raised to shield his eyes, and takes a moment to look around. "Hey, ZZ Top,," he greets the magician, then nods hello to Dylan. "And judging by the look on your face," he adds, looking back to Zatanna, "you weren't the one who teleported us out …"

Spider-Man trails off, fishing out his phone and checking the map app. "… right, watch out for a headless rider with a flaming jack-o'-lantern under his arm," he jokes.

"And just remember, next time, that crime doesn't—" Spider-Woman is in the middle of giving a bit of a spiel (sounds canned, honestly; come on Gwen you can do better) when there's a flash of light and a total change of scenery. The black and white clad Spider trails off mid-sentence, mumbling something unintelligable as she looks around at a… forest. "Hey, what happened to Brooklyn?"

Hands are planted on hips as she looks around. Then she reaches out to poke the nearest tree. "Alright, either it's not a dream, or it's like, a really realistic dream," she observes, before looking back to the group. "So… neither of you zapped us here either, then? Like Spidey said, you both look way too surprised." She lets her arms go back to her sides, and shrugs.

"Well… I dunno, then, I'm fresh out of ideas. Might as well introduce ourselves? I'm Spider-Woman, this is Spider-Man." She ahems softly. "In…case you don't ever read the news or… anything."

Zee shakes her head at the two Spider people. "I was not. I was tying up the loose ends of a case." Probably literally. "It's not the right time of the year for the headless horseman to ride…" She trails off as Dylan gets a reply to his statement.

"Pixies?" A tall slim figure emerges from a tree - well, maybe from behind a tree but its hard to tell. A male, with long pale golden hair bound in braids. Not quite a Legolas knock off, but close. "How quaint. We don't tend to use Pixies. They're not very reliable." The accent is a soft lilting one. Irish? Scottish? Perhaps difficult to tell. "And we know who you are Spider Woman, Spider-Man, Zatanna and Sir Grey. It is why you were summoned here tonight."

From behind the elf, a shorter, more stout, man joins him - dressed in an emerald green waist jacket and britches and a tall hat perched on his head. "Aye, that be true. We want to test yer mettle …."

The elf places a hand on the leprechauns shoulder "Not so fast, my friend. I am Wyn Farmaris and this is Congal Mac Conshamha. We … want to offer some help."

Help for what?

"Wasn't me either." Dylan agrees. That's not his kind of magic. When the elf emerges from the trees, he pulls his helm off and hooks it over the saddle horn. "No, definitely not pixies. Much more attractive. And with all the svartalfar activity, I was wondering when the other side would show up. Are you representatives of the Otherworld or merely an interested third party?"

Spider-Man tucks his phone away, nodding to Zatanna. "Some good news, at least," he states …

And then they have company. "Definitely not pixies," Spidey says quietly, inclining his head with uncommon politeness to the newest arrivals. "I'd say it's a pleasure to meet the two of you, friendly neighbors that you are, but 'testing our mettle' … and you say you want to help us?"

He's notably *not* going to a defensive posture yet, although his stance isn't completely relaxed, either. He's done some reading up recently, although not quite enough to guess at what the elf and the leprechaun might have in mind. He *does* know enough to be polite, though - which might come as a surprise to those who know Spider-Man for an incessant wisecracker.

Gwen perks an eyebrow upwards beneath her mask. "Uhm, not to be rude, but 'testing our mettle' and 'helping us' do seem to kinda be on the opposite ends of the spectrum," she points out, holding up one hand with a single finger pointed upwards. "But… All things considered, I'm willing to overlook it, honestly."

The Spider-Woman moves a step closer to Spider-Man, and tilts her head to one side. "Alright, so… I gather I'm at a bit of a disadvantage on a couple of things here, and I gotta ask some questions. One, what's the Otherworld, and Two, the pair of you seem to know perfectly well who we are, but I've got no idea who you're supposed to be?"

The Spider-Woman pauses, glancing between her apparent compatriots and the… men. "Well, I guess it's a good thing it wasn't the headless horseman," she muses. "I think. That remains to be seen."

Wyn chuckles as the questions come thick and fast from the group. "To answer your question, Sir Grey, we are residents of Otherworld and have a vested interest in keeping it free from Dark Elf rule. As to our interest in you? We see that you might have a role to play in that drama and we wish to ensure that the deck is stacked in our favour." It's a very fae answer, really.

"Ye donna think it fair that if we are to bestow boons on ye all, that we are we sure ye are worthy of such gifts?" Congal asks Spider Woman and Spider-Man "In the wrong hands boons can cause much damage."

Zatanna watches, nodding slowly as the leprachaun speaks. "We have learned to be careful of gifts from the Fae. What do you want in return?"

Wyn smiles. It's almost radiant. "That you will use the boons to keep Malekith and his minions at bay, of course. You will fight on the side of Otherworld." beat "Otherworld, is where we live." Not very … explanatory for Gwen.

Zee picks up on that "Another dimension, Spider Woman. It exists in parallel, I suppose to this dimension. It is the place where Arthur and his Knights are said to wait their return, depending on which myth you read. Either way, the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim, who I believe are only peripherally related to the fae of Otherworld, have decided that it would be a nice addition to their holdings."

"Of course we know who you are, bairn." Congal laughs. "Ye've been fighting the Dark Elves and their ilk for weeks now. We only reveal ourselves to those we wish to. And it is to ye that have decided to so. As to testing yer mettle, it is a few simple tests. Will ye accept what we have to offer?"

"They're also from different parts of the world, the Dark Elves being from Scandinavia and the Otherworld being Celtic." If other dimensions can be said to be related to geographic areas of the Earth. "As for your tests," Dylan says to the far, "You are not helping us out of the goodness of your hearts. We are fighting your enemies and if they succeed, you will be at a disadvantage, if not worse. By helping us, you are helping yourselves without needing to lift a finger and endanger yourselves. You should instead be asking us if we'd accept your help."

"Judging from what I've read," Spider-Man says with a nod, "the Fair Folk don't do anything for free. 'Paying' up front by proving our worth seems about the best deal we could hope for. All right; please pardon our doubting. We *do* need all the help we can get - whether the Dark Elves have been invading New York to get to the Otherworld, or they have designs on the human world, or both, it doesn't much matter. They *are* a shared problem."

He glances at Dylan, then shrugs slightly, turning his attention to Wyn and Congal. "He's not wrong, but I figure if the Dark Elves *could* have skipped straight into Underworld, they *would* have; they're not invading New York just to take in the sights and the cuisine. So we're basically your first line of defense, right?"

"Woah woah woah, hold up." Gwen holds up one hand and taps her fingertips against her palm, like she's making a 'T'. "Time out for a second. We're all talking about Dark Elves and Boons and Tests and New York cuisine — which… I could actually really go for a hotdog right now, but that's off the point — but I feel like we're really skipping over some important details." She sucks in a breath, "So, before we say 'Yes we'd like boons, please test us,' I'd like to ask, just what are these boons going to entail?"

Gwen glances sidewas at the others, then back to Wyn and Congal. "I mean, my Dad always told me to make sure if you're ever buying a car, look under the hood first. You don't want to end up buying a lemon, right? So… if you don't mind, a little more detail, please?"

"That is true…" Zatanna agrees with Dylan. "In fact, there's thought amongst the magical community that Otherworld is the subconscious of the British Isles." Realizing that now is probably not the time to be a magic nerd, the magician turns her attention to the others.

"Not entirely, Sir Grey." Wyn chuckles. "It will just leave this dimension a wasteland if Malekith comes through here. Or if he takes Otherworld, what stops him focussing on here next? You know that the Dark Elves are … avaricious and that the Asgardians have had trouble with them in the past. But will you accept our help and agree to be tested, Sir Grey?"

Spider Woman gets a beaming smile from Congal. "I like ye, Bairn. And ye, Spider-Man. As to the boons that we offer …" The leprechaun waves a hand, revealing a small casket at his feet. "Behold the Light Eternal. Only to be wielded by one of sharp wit and mind, it can be used once and once only … It will cleanse the field of your foes."

Wyn steps up then and shakes his hands like he's shaking a towel … a cape of glowing gold appears in it. "The Cape of Fingal confers a mantle of authority on the wearer. But only for a matter of minutes. All in the area will be unable to resist your commands when you don it."

Lastly, Wyn draws forth a plain looking sword. It looks like might be made of iron. Completely unexceptional. Dylan might recognise it as Wyn speaks once more "The Singing Sword of Conair Mor." There's a lot of myths about this one but they all end with a battlefield vanquished.

"Whoever wields these must be strong of heart and mind. Else they may not work or worse, may bent to other causes."

"I'm aware of the reputation of the Dark Elves and what we could expect from them." Dylan agrees. "We definitely share an enemy and my family has been an ally of the Otherworld in the past. As for will we accept them…" He falls silent as the boons are trotted out and explained. "That will depend on what the tests are." Glancing at Zatanna, he adds "I'd be hesitant about exactly who would wield these items. At best, they're double edged swords. At worst, they're monkey paws."

"So *that's* why you need to test our mettle," Spider-Man realizes. "To make sure we're strong enough and have the necessary judgment. Otherwise, like the man said, they're double-edged swords -" He pauses, looking at the Singing Sword; that one might be *literally* double-edged, as well as (just as literally) a sword. "- or something that we could be tricked into using the wrong way, wasting their power. Or worse."

He falls silent for a moment, thinking, right hand cupping his chin, left hand supporting his right elbow. On the one hand, these are pretty much superweapons, *if* they're used right. If they're used *wrong* … well, still superweapons, but.

"…. I'm guessing neither of you actually knows when we should expect the Wild Hunt to ride next."

Spider-Woman's eyes widen at the display of magical artifacts. "…Wow," she murmurs, and promptly coughs to cover her suddenly being all agape. "Well. Alright then, I suppose all of that makes sense." Does it? Well, mostly. She glances to either side of her at the other heros here with her, then back to the elves, and she shrugs lightly.

"Well… Aww, that's sweet, I like you too," she replies to Congal. "But, I think we can, erm, do business? Yes? Yes." She squares her shoulders, puffs out her chest, and tilts her head to one side until her bones crack. "Alright, I for one am ready. Test away. I'm a Spider, we're both tough and cunning." Or so she likes to think, anyway. "What do we have to do?"

"Did I no' say that?" Congal asks Spider-Man. Laughing still. Leprechauns seem to be happy fellows. "Aye, double edged swords as ye well know of enchantment, Lord Grey. There is only so much one can do - they are tools and tools are wielded by the tradesman."

"You will be tested by riddle and questions. We know of your fighting prowess but we want to know you have the wit and heart that goes with it." Wyn answers. "Let us begin then." He looks first to Spider-Man "For you, Spider-Man, You may catch me, but you cannot throw me. What am I?" They did say riddles, didn't they?

Congal, looks at Spider Woman "What is harder to catch the faster you run?"

And finally, Wyn looks to Dylan "What is it that you can keep after giving it to someone else?"

The elf looks up then and smiles "Ah. Our last guest has arrived. Come forth, Lord Loki and join the others. For you and Zatanna, we have a bigger test. Your tasks, in the coming conflict, will be differently." As Loki approaches, he and Zee find themselves enmeshed in a complex weaving. It is … literally … weaving - threads of magical light cross between and around them - they don't hurt, yet. But both the casters can see that they might. "Free yourselves, this will be your only test. Oh, when you're done - the resulting the chain from this weaving will be yours to keep."

Loki, or Zee, could just slice the weaving but that would leave the chain in pieces. Both of them know that's not going to work and to get this unwound they'll have to work together.

Ah, that kind of test. Dylan listens to each of the riddles, looking to those they're directed towards. He doesn't need to pause and think when he's asked his. "There's more answers than one. Your heart." he answers. "In fact, the more love you give the more you have. But it could also be your word." He steps toward the magic to inspect it curiously, nodding at the restriction. He could just slice through it with his dagger but that would break the book as well.

Gwen perks an eyebrow upwards. "What's harder to catch the faster you run?" She bites her bottom lip for a moment, before she chuckles softly. "Good thing I do a lot of running, then. The answer is: Your breath. The more you run the harder it'll be." She stretches, and clasps her hands on the back of her head, entirely confident in her answer.

The Spider-Woman waits patiently after that, for everyone to be finished. …Oh, and now Loki is here? She glances sideways at the trickster, about to give a greeting, but then he's enveloped in his own test, more or less literally.

Having received a somewhat questionable, albeit handsomely calligraphed letter isn't unusual for the Liesmith. It IS unusual however for the delivery to have been done is such a way that he didn't notice. THAT, dear friends, /that/ got Loki's attention.

Sadly, his curiousity is something that Loki has never been very good at controlling, so he girded himself for battle, packed a few extra knick-knacks (but not paddy whacks!) and went to the meeting place unsure of what to expect but excited by this fact.

Seeing two familiar faces, and two familiar costumes, an Elf and a Leprechaun was -not- something he'd expected. Still…he's about to make a fancy entrance when they steal his thunder by chaining him.

Loki /hates/ being chained with a passion that few mortals or immortals could ever truly understand. He controls that though, for the moment, and nods politely to Zatanna. "Greetings, Mistress of Magic." He says with a smirk. "So…we get to keep the chains that binds us, all we needs must do is escape them." Eyes of glacier-heart green study the chains closely. "I can escape readily, but the chains will remain twisted, so…needs must we work together, Lady." His smirk turns devilish. "Trust me?"

Behind his mask, Spider-Man smirks wryly. "A cold," he replies. "Although there's the metaphor that you can 'give' a cold to someone, you can't 'throw' it." He glances over as the elf draws attention to Loki's presence, and waves idly to the trickster out of Norse mythology - just before the magical mesh enfolds him and Zatanna.

And then Spidey just looks at Wyn again. "Not sure if I should ask you a riddle, or just let you ask some more … ?"

"Either is correct, Lord Grey and very insightful." Wyn smiles as Congal chuckles. "And for you, Spider Woman and you Spider Man." The work between Zatanna and Loki gets a glance and a knowing smile.

"That's two tests down …" Congal speaks up again. Wait? Two? "Now the third. What does it mean to ye to be a Knight?" The capitalisation of the K is audible. "For ye young whippersnappers, I mean Knight in the true sense of the word." Do they know what that means? Is there really a wrong answer here?

"You asked, by the way, if we knew when the Wild Hunt rides again. We do not but the Hounds are hunting already at the behest of their of their master and the other members grow restless. Soon, we think. Soon." The elf adds to Peter.

"Trust you, Lord Loki?" Zee answers dryly. "That is a big ask for the Lord of Lies, don't you think?" She's already managed to 'pluck' an end free and is looking for how to untangle it. "But go ahead. Remember, with most puzzles and skeins of wool, you tug just at the right place and it all falls apart." She holds the end to Loki if he wants it.

"As a Knight I have a duty to my people, my land and my king." Which is the reverse order that it was usually put in medieval days. Plus Dylan is the king of the kingdom which no longer technically exists so that makes things complicated. "Or Queen." he adds so that probably includes Elizabeth. "It is a duty to their welfare and a Calling to be performed with honor."

"Meh. This is more Sigyn's area of expertise, ah well." Loki does spare a moment to grin at Dylan. "Master Grey." And Gwen. "Spider-Woman." And offers a finger wave to the Spider-Man in response to his aborted greeting. "Spider-Man." To all assembled. "And greetings to you, Leprechaun and Lios Alfar, or are you of the Tuatha De?"

After a moment he turns his gaze back to the Mistress of Magic. "It -is- a big ask, and that, Lady Zatarra is probably the very crux of the matter. This is a test of our ability to work cooperatively, and that /requires/ trust."

He takes the offered strand, tracing it's path until he finds another strand to pluck, and then laughing warm and fully. "Cat's cradle perhaps?" He offers her his strand and hers in the classic game.

Ooh, weighty questions for the other three, good thing they didn't ask -HIM- what he thinks it means to be a Knight!

Gwen arches an eyebrow upwards. "What does it mean to be a knight?" She shrugs lightly. "I've never been a knight, at least, not literally. No Queen of England has plopped a sword down on each of my shoulders, one after the other, and dubbed me Sir Spider-Woman. But I've been trying my best to be a good hero ever since I got my powers, and I suppose you could see it as something similar."

The Spider-Woman nods towards Loki, grinning under her mask, as she clasps her hands behind her back and turns her gaze back to the elves. "I do whatever I can to protect…" she trails off, having been about to say 'the innocent'. "People," she says at last. "Anyone that needs protecting, without judging them. Monster from another dimension chasing my friends? I fight it. Or help people get out of the way if someone's got that covered. Gravity gets reversed on one street corner? I stick everyone to the ground so they don't float away. Little girl's balloon floats away? I get it for her. I've done all of that, and some of it with broken bones and worse."

Gwen pauses, and quirks her lips up at the corners. "Being a hero — or a knight — is about doing what's right and refusing to quit."

Being a Knight … *that* stumps Spider-Man for a bit, and he actually sits down on the trunk of a tree to think it over. A tree that's still standing, mind you.

"I'm more of a 'knight errant' than anything," he finally says. "But there's a reason, a purpose, bigger than myself - something I *have* to do, *because* I chose to do it, and to *keep* doing it no matter how hard it is. New York City has plenty of heroes, true, and I'm not even the only Spider-Hero running around," he nods to the woman in white-and-black nearby. "But the 'need' for me … it's still there, and I can't ignore it. Call it 'duty' if you want - but it's a calling that won't let me ignore it, by any name."

It takes Zee and Loki several minutes of passing those threads back and forth but eventually they get it to the point where … it just unravels, the strands of magical chain falling to the ground. "I know what the test is, Lord Loki. I also believe it is to know when… and who … to trust." The magician nods to the chain on the ground "I believe that is yours. Held in trust for whatever is coming at us."

Wyn and Congal look at each as the answers are given before conferring quietly. When they finish, both nod and turn to look at the group. It's Congal that speaks this time. "All three of you are Knights. Lord Grey has the title but you Spider-Man and you Spider Woman embody the spirit of what it means. You have satisfied us that you have the judgement, the wit and the heart to wield the boons. Take them."

Wyn hands the casket to Spider-Man and the cape to Spider Woman. The sword is handed to Dylan. That very plain, ordinary looking sword. "You will know when the time to use these comes. Now, we must be off."

And like that … they disappear leaving the five in the full moonlight in the middle of the forest.

"Well then." Zatanna says. "You'll need to keep those safe. And I pray that you won't need to use them. I feel like a drink. Would anyone care to join me?" She's no idea if Spider-Man or Spider Woman are truly old enough. She doesn't really care. If they're old enough to protect the city, they deserve a drink.

Gwen accepts the cape, and bows to the elf.. kind of… awkwardly. I mean how do you even react to elven nobility? or elves in general? Aside form when it's dark elves trying to murderize you, that is, then it's pretty easy to work it out. "Than—" she starts, but the elves are gone before she can finish.

"…Well alright then," she mumbles, and holds the cloak up to look at it — and it is impressive, that's for certain. "I'm glad they said we'll know when to use these, because right now, I can't picture in my head what would constitute 'the right time' to suddenly be really good at telling everyone what to do." She sets to carefully folding up the cloak, like it's a supremely powerful magic item or something. (Turns out it is.)

"Don't worry," she adds, quietly. "I'll be protecting this with my life." Seriously, could you imagine if the wrong person got it? "Drink? As long as it's coke or sprite or something for me, sure!"

Dylan accepts the sword and hefts it appraisingly, taking a couple swings to test its balance. Nodding his approval, he pulls out his phones, points the camera the sword, and it disappears. "Something traditional seems suitable. A Guinness would go down right well."

"Apologies if I just 'mansplained' at you, I do have a tendency towards the verbose at times." A smirk. "Only on a day that ends in -ay, of course. So there's that." Loki banters as they unravel the tangled skein of the spell-mesh. "As to trusting me, that /is/ a fool's undertaking most of the time, unless of course it isn't." He is the Lord of Lies as she pointed out, after all. Still, he's also a Trickster, and that means being unpredictable, and really, lying all the time is just the opposite - being good at what he does means that Loki is someone you can't ever *truly* be sure of from moment to moment.

Despite the task at hand and the teasing banter, he /does/ pay attention to the answers the others give. Jaded as he is Loki does have the wit to know sincerity when he hears it. These three heroes really do mean what they're saying. Laudable, foolish perhaps, but still very heroic.

Gathering up the chain, he carefully coils it, and then stuffs it in a sub-dimensional pocket for temporary storage. "You know what we should do? Take them to the Bar Without Doors." THAT, he would love to see. "What say you, Spider-Woman, want to encounter a bar full of magical creatures?" He smirks at Dylan. "And you Master Grey, have you ever been? What say you, Spider-Man? Lady Zatarra? All I know is that /I/ could go for a pint or five."

Spider-Man bows politely (*politely*, of all things!!) to Wyn as he accepts the casket, "I shall keep this safe until such time as the need presents itself, or the time to return it to your keeping. Hopefully the latter, but time will tell." He examines it briefly, then spins up a web-sack to keep his 'treasure' safe in.

"What *I* know," he replies to Loki, "is that drinking and web-swinging are a terrible combination … but even if I don't drink anything stronger than ginger ale, I could use a bit to unwind, and good company in which to do it sounds better than all the beer in Milwaukee. Plus, now you've got me curious what this 'Bar Without Doors' is like," he adds with a mask-hidden grin, "as long as it's … relatively safe for non-magic types."

Loki may not be entirely trustworthy, but by this point? Spidey is pretty much at ease around Zatanna.

"Bar Without Doors it is." Zee agrees, murmuring a spell, speaking backwards that causes azure arcane symbols to float down over everyone.

They disappear from that forest … leaving just the moon and the silence behind them.

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